July 15, 2011
Transit Group Says PPPs Are a Bad and Horrible Idea
CTA Group Wants Governor to Stop the
Public to Private Conversion of Transit
Citizens Taking Action, an organization comprised of transit dependent riders, is raising issue with Governor Quinn, seeking a veto of a law (HB 1091, SB 146) which passed in the state legislation enabling public-private partnerships (PPP) for public transportation projects. Private entities would have control over the infrastructure, they claim, and untimately the operation as well, of public transit. The group is concerned that CTA would revert back to a collection of private companies more concerned about making money than providing a public service for passengers. As transit dependent riders, they say the state should stop and seriously reconsider turning over a major public asset.
Charles Paidock Secretary of the organization, said that “You don’t rent public transit from some guy who wants to make money, which is what this amounts to. Given the decades-long time frame of many of these deals and schemes, and their impact on people’s lives, means that mistakes in this area will not be small. PPPs are sold as a way of avoiding traditional tax funding and appropriation. In the process you also lose control, perhaps more than you anticipated or planned. The Government Accountability Office studied the approach, and warned that there is no such thing as free money.”
Kevin Peterson, who studies current transit routes, said: “That this is a bad and horrible idea is an understatement. CTA was originally formed because the private companies were a miserable failure, and all went bankrupt. For us to go back to that will result in massive service cuts and huge, and I mean it, huge increases in fares because these companies are trying to make a profit. Lower ridership routes would be eliminated because they won’t turn a profit.”
Harry Brooks, another member of the group, stated that: “Any privatization of public transit would be a total nightmare. A few years ago private companies took over the travel information center. Good luck in getting any directions about how to get around these days. I hope you make it back home after you wander lost around the city.”